Lulzbot Mini requires huge maintenance

A forum dedicated to the stock LulzBot Mini 3D Printer
Diigiit
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:01 am

Lulzbot Mini requires huge maintenance

Post by Diigiit » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:26 am

I am operating 4 Lulzbot Mini since a couple of years ... well was operating them since none of them is working any more. The Lulzbot Mini seem to have huge maintenance issue. Have spent the equivalent of 2 Lulzbot Mini printer in repair parts...

- Bed harness cable got cut very often. Not only this cable costs 25$ but it takes at least 1 hour to change
- Many heat bed cable stopped heating. Try to upgrade to new module print bed (80$) but wire were poorly soldered.
- Each printer has to have some of its 3D bed printed parts changed
- Tool clogged many times
- New Aerostruder stopped heating after a couple of hours of use
- PEI (25$) sheet has too be changed very often (with ABS)
- etc...

I am not counting hours of maintenance required to operate them and hardware cost required.

Do you have advice to reduce maintenance costs?

I was hoping the Aerostruder and the modular bed could help a little bit but in fact parts stopped working more quickly...

OutcastZeroOne
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:40 am

Re: Lulzbot Mini requires huge maintenance

Post by OutcastZeroOne » Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:35 pm

Odd,I’ve had mine for 1.5 years and haven’t had any of the issues you mentioned. Other then replacing the PEI sheet a couple times. Like you I really only do ABS, some nylon and Polycarbonate. And mine also sits on the floor of my place and also has to deal with dander from 2 cats.

I do my a TabSynth enclosure on mine and have it sitting on a cork pad. I’ve also one used IC3D and GizmoDorks filament though my machines.

Keebie81
Posts: 80
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2014 12:53 pm

Re: Lulzbot Mini requires huge maintenance

Post by Keebie81 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:39 pm

I run 4 also along with 3 taz's and have not had that many issues on the mini's. I replaced the wiring once. Have not had the wires on the heater pad cause any issues. Same with clogged nozzles, only ever got that when using meltink3d filament. Maybe try a different brand of filament or higher temps.

The only part I needed to replace on minis is the bearings and holder on bed. Overtime it wears and the flex chain cause the bed to raise when moving. This leaves a noticeable bump on walls of print.

For aerostruders I built my own using the itworks3d files and they have worked perfectly for me.

The pei is always going to go bad quicker when using abs, the temps are high and the adhesive softens getting bubbles under it. But i think any printer is going to do that. I have had sheets last forever at pla temps.

OutcastZeroOne
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:40 am

Re: Lulzbot Mini requires huge maintenance

Post by OutcastZeroOne » Fri Oct 26, 2018 2:03 am

i do remember reading about some of the early versions of the mini having issues with their wires breaking for a lot of use before they switched to a different type of wire setup. its possible you may have some of the early version mini's with the weaker wiring. I know mine is a 1.3 and I htink that was when they rolled out the new harnessing.

orly_andico
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:05 am

Re: Lulzbot Mini requires huge maintenance

Post by orly_andico » Wed Oct 31, 2018 8:58 am

I have what I think is a 1.4 (black bed) and the Z-min wire broke, causing no end of intermittent leveling problems and contributing to clogged extruder (the leveling was off so the Z-offset was too small and the filament built up inside the extruder).

This after around 6 months of use. Technically warranty-able but I'm not in the US and shipping it back would be a huge pain. I've turned into a 3D printer repair person, something I tried to avoid by not buying a cheap Chinese printer.

fastrobplus
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:57 am

Re: Lulzbot Mini requires huge maintenance

Post by fastrobplus » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:41 pm

Does Lulzbot have a service where you can pay to have the printer completely overhauled? I have a Mini and a Taz and I'm thinking I would pay for an overhaul versus trying to evaluate the condition of everything and refurbishing/replacing.

[edit] for the record, both printers have been pretty reliable. Main issues are PLA heat creep with specialty filaments, which I think is pretty common regardless of printer calibration.

tacit_caster
Aleph Objects | LulzBot
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:16 am

Re: Lulzbot Mini requires huge maintenance

Post by tacit_caster » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:58 pm

fastrobplus wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:41 pm
Does Lulzbot have a service where you can pay to have the printer completely overhauled? I have a Mini and a Taz and I'm thinking I would pay for an overhaul versus trying to evaluate the condition of everything and refurbishing/replacing.

[edit] for the record, both printers have been pretty reliable. Main issues are PLA heat creep with specialty filaments, which I think is pretty common regardless of printer calibration.
Thanks for the question! We have a repair service available here: https://www.lulzbot.com/lulzbot-repair-service

Our repair team will go over the printer and do a full evaluation and make recommendations on high priority repairs and optional upgrades. Then you can decide on whichever repairs/upgrades you would like done to the printer.

I hope that helps!

fastrobplus
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:57 am

Re: Lulzbot Mini requires huge maintenance

Post by fastrobplus » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:54 pm

It does!

IDEngineer
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 2:36 pm

Re: Lulzbot Mini requires huge maintenance

Post by IDEngineer » Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:45 pm

I agree, the Mini requires a ton of attention. Meanwhile, my associates who went with other brands have zero complaints.

I've printed lots of things on this machine. At first it worked fine. But the deterioration is ridiculous, it's like trying to keep a Yugo running. A low-quality Yugo.

I've had to replace the nozzle fan twice. Then pay a third time for the new, larger, improved fan. This one didn't bother me too much, but it just adds to the frustration.

One of the 3D printed stainless shaft mounts CAME with a crack in it. I just found a second crack, in a second mount. My guess is that the screws were tightened too much at the factory. Maybe some higher-stress parts shouldn't be 3D printed?

The Z axis offset seems to move around all the time, unpredictably. I'm constantly having to adjust it, sometimes by whole millimeters (!!!), to get the first layer to print properly.

I've had to replace the print bed due to the original one delaminating. Lulzbot sold me a replacement, without mentioning that the new one ALSO needed their upgraded heater - so once the new bed arrived I couldn't install it until I ordered (and paid for) the heater too - even more expense and delay.

A while back the printhead started "dribbling" at the start of each print, when the extruder reverses the 30mm it backs out during cleaning and auto-leveling. Now it's so bad that we sit at the start of each print with the tweezers trying to grab the giant glob that forms as the head slowly lowers to begin the print. Needless to say, this ruins a lot of prints.

I've tried hard to be loyal to the brand, but today is the last straw. Once again, this Mini won't print. My 16YO son, who is a world ranked FPV Drone pilot and one of just five pilots on TeamUSA (just got back from the World Championships in Shenzhen China), uses this Mini to print parts for his aircraft. He gave up on fighting it for the umpteeth time this morning, so I took over....

...and I can't get it to print even simple PLA. It extrudes just fine above the print bed, but when it tries to print it globs all over the nozzle instead of laying down a line. I figured it was the Z axis offset (again), so I played with that. I even used feeler gauges to confirm I was getting the changes I intended. No improvement. If I go high enough I don't get any "squish" and the extruded filament just drags around. I can go too low and block the nozzle. In between, at the "proper" adjustment, it can sometimes start to adhere properly but then stops and just forms a huge glob on the nozzle which prevents any further success.

I've tried a range of print bed temperatures. I've tried different spools of PLA in case one got "contaminated" (humidity?). I've tried flipping to the pure glass side of the new bed. I've made certain the nozzle is shiny clean. I've adjusted the vertical screw shafts (again!) to insure the nozzle is a consistent height across the Y axis.

Nothing helps. Meanwhile, my son reports that several of his pilot friends worldwide are having excellent success with some $200 unit that's available today. He's shown me some prints that look better than ANYTHING we've ever gotten out of this Mini, even when it was new.

When we first looked at buying a 3D printer for home, I did a ton of research. The Mini stood out for its excellent customer support, and I liked the strong user community and forums in case I ever needed them. At $1200 it was far more expensive than many alternatives but we needed a TOOL, not a hobby, so I justified the expense.

But after today, I've had it. I think this Mini is going in the junk heap and we're going to get one of those $200 units. I've wasted at least $200 of my time, again, just today, on trying to get this thing to work. I'm an Engineer (hence my username), so I'm not exactly stupid on technical matters, but the Lulzbot Mini has just wasted too much of our time. I understand the difference between a tool and a hobby, and while I respect those for whom 3D printing is a hobby, I need a reliable tool. I spent a lot of extra money specifically to avoid doing exactly what I've just wasted half my day doing - and it's not the first time. But it will probably be the last.

In the past when folks have asked my recommendation for a 3D printer I've pointed them to the Mini. That ends today. And my son, with his worldwide community of FPV pilots, will be doing the same. I'm very sad to say that but frankly we feel betrayed and out far more money than was necessary.

User avatar
koniglar
Posts: 44
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:01 pm

Re: Lulzbot Mini requires huge maintenance

Post by koniglar » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:51 pm

I guess I was lucky and got a good one.... I'm sorry to hear that your MINI hasn't provided the same success that mine has.
My MINI is almost 3 years now. During the first year it was probably used weekly (my TAZ was my primary printer), but has been used almost daily the past 2 years and has been an absolute workhorse.
In 3 years, I've had to replace:
  • Heatsink cooling fan (replaced with a 40mm fan long ago)
  • Two PEI sheets (one was damaged using something sharp to remove a stuck print, and the other was damaged when switching to different software and forgetting to enter my Z offset)
  • X and Y axis IGUS bushings (over time these developed what I considered unacceptable wiggle)
I haven't had any issues with any of the printed pieces. I did have a few back split on my TAZ 3, but the quality of the printed pieces has gotten much better since then. I also haven't had any trouble with the bed harness. However since it's an old MINI and others have had troubles, I have a replacement on-hand just in case.

I use 3 different Lulzbot printers and they have never let me down. Some friends have purchased Lulzbot printers from my recommendations, and they too have been workhorses. I continue to recommend them to anyone looking for a quality printer.

In my experience, excessive oozing was caused by the extruder temperature being set too high.

Post Reply